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Installing the Turbo Tie Rod Kit
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Installing the Turbo Tie Rod Kit

Time:

5 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

***

Tools:

Tie rod end removal fork, socket set

Applicable Models:

 
Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 914 (1970-76)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

Turbo tie rod kit

Hot Tip:

Install the kit when you need to replace the tie rod ends

Performance Gain:

Tighter steering control

Complementary Modification:

Lower your front end, replace your tie rod ends
101 Projects for Your Porsche 911

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's book, 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911. The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Porsche 911 owner's collection. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the most popular upgrades for the 1969-89 911 is the installation of the Turbo Tie Rod Kit. The tie rods used on the normal 911 were designed so that they are flexible, and become looser with increased use. The tie rods designed for the 911 Turbo on the other hand, use a different design that creates a much stiffer and secure steering feel, while increasing the overall life of the tie rods themselves.

The first step in installing the kit is to jack up the front of the car, and remove the two front wheels. Follow the procedures outlined in Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up Your Car. After the front of the car is off of the ground, remove the tie rod ends from their connection to the a-arm. For guidance on this process, see Pelican Technical Article: Tie Rod End Replacement. Do not remove the rod ends from the tie rods, or turn them or the tie rod. With this project, it's best to work on one side of the car and completely finish prior to moving onto the other side. This will make the job go a bit quicker, as you learn from your experience.

Once you have the rod ends disconnected, remove the spring retainers that attach and secure each end of the rubber bellows to the tie rod and the steering rack. To gain access to these retainers remove the belly pan on the bottom of the car that protects the steering rack from dirt and debris. This pan is held on with four bolts. Once the pan is removed you should be able to see the steering rack, the rubber boots, and the spring retainers that hold them onto the rack.

Using a small screwdriver, carefully pry off the spring retainer from the bellows. Be careful not to damage the inner one, as you will reuse it when you install the new boot that comes with the kit. You can let the spring retainer hang around the inside of the rack housing: you don't have to completely remove it.

Now, unscrew the old tie rod from the rack. This sounds easier than it really is. The old tie rod may be quite snuggly secured to the rack, and could require significant force to remove it. The good news is that the tie rod acts as an excellent wrench for removing itself. Simply bend the tie rod all the way down, and rotate it counter clockwise. You may need to stick a long screwdriver or bar into the hollow end to gain some more leverage, but with enough force, the tie rod should become separated.

Once you have the old tie rod off, remove the old rubber boot. You will see the exposed metal shaft of the steering rack. Make sure that you don't get any dirt or debris on the rack while you are working on it. The new tie rods will require the use of the large spacer that fits in-between the rack and the tie rod. Don't forget this spacer when installing the new tie rods, or they might not seat properly against the steering rack.

Before the final install of the new tie rod, place the new one and the old one side by side on a workbench, and adjust the new tie rod so that the length from the rod end to the rack-mating surface is the same. You want to set the two lengths of the tie rods to be equal so that you can minimize the change in alignment of the car. You will have to get the car realigned regardless, but it's good practice to get the alignment close so that you can safely drive to the alignment shop. Don't forget to include the thickness of the spacers in your calculations of the lengths of the two tie rods. Mark the final position of the tie rod end on the new tie rod, and then remove it.

Before you screw the tie rod into the rack, make sure that you spread a few drops of Loctite onto the threads. After you insert the tie rod into the rack, use a pair of large vise grips or channel locks to tighten it down. There really isn't too much to grab onto with a regular wrench, and chances are you won't have the special thin Porsche wrench that is required to tighten the tie rod.

Once the tie rod is tight, then place the rubber boot over the tie rod and onto the steering rack. You will have to have the rod end on the end of the tie rod removed in order to make the boot fit. Getting the boot to cooperate and properly cover the rack and the tie rod may be the most difficult part of this process. Use pliers and screwdrivers to stretch the boot over each end. This may take a few tries, but it is possible. Once the boot is in position, replace the inner spring over the boot to secure it to the rack housing.

After the boot is installed, reattach the tie rod end. Make sure that the length of the tie rod is the same as the measurement of the old one. Adjust the position of the rod end to match up with the mark that you previously made when you compared it to the original tie rod.

To complete the job, install the new rod end into the front control arm. Perform the same procedure for the opposite side, reattach the belly pan, the wheels, and lower the car to the ground. The car should be taken straight to an alignment shop, as it is very easy to mess up the toe-in of the front suspension when you are replacing the tie rods. If you are planning on performing any other front suspension work that might affect the alignment, it would be advisable to do it now, since you will have to realign the car anyway.

The complete Turbo Tie Rod Kit contains everything that you need to perform the conversion.
Figure 1

The complete Turbo Tie Rod Kit contains everything that you need to perform the conversion. The kit includes new tie rod ends, spacers, the tie rods, and new dust boots for the entire assembly. If you are planning on replacing your tie rod ends anyway, it makes good sense to upgrade to the kit.

When you remove the old tie rod, make sure that you line it up with the new one, and set the lengths of the two rods to be equal.
Figure 2

When you remove the old tie rod, make sure that you line it up with the new one, and set the lengths of the two rods to be equal. If they are not equal, then your alignment will be significantly off. Make sure that the distance between the rod end and the mounting flange that mates with the rack is the same. Regardless of how precise your measurements are, you should have the car aligned after having the tie rods installed.

The new tie rod and old tie rod side-by-side shows the difference in mounting the boot, and also the difference in the flange that is located on the end of the rack.
Figure 3

The new tie rod and old tie rod side-by-side shows the difference in mounting the boot, and also the difference in the flange that is located on the end of the rack. To remove the old tie rod, simply unscrew it from the rack.

If the tie rod bottoms out when screwed into the steering rack, make sure that you use the spacer in-between the tie rod and the rack.
Figure 4

If the tie rod bottoms out when screwed into the steering rack, make sure that you use the spacer in-between the tie rod and the rack. Test fit the entire assembly beforehand and make sure that if you don't use the spacer, the tie rod is securely mounted to the end of the rack.

Don't forget to reattach the boot's spring retainer on the inner end of the rack.
Figure 5

Don't forget to reattach the boot's spring retainer on the inner end of the rack. The boot protects the rack from dirt and debris that can clog and wear out the inner gears. Make sure when you are installing the boot that you don't get any dirt on the rack.

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Comments and Suggestions:
MillerMav Comments: I noticed there is nothing addressing the out boot attaching to the tie rod. The stock Carrera boot is attached with another spring on the outside. The turbo tie rod does not have a spring and the Carrera spring does not work. Are you supposed to leave it loose or should I zip tie it to the new tie rod somehow?
April 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Please send me a picture of what you have. The Turbo tie rod has a rubber puck on the tie rod shaft, and the boot fits around the rubber. If you look in figure 3 it shows the side by side comparison of the old tie rod and boot versus the new tie rod and boot and you can see that there is no spring on the boot. I believe this is to help make the toe adjustment easier when performing the alignment. If there was a clamp fitted the boot would twist as the tie rod was rotated. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Ty Comments: Seriously. This "method" puts too much pressure on the rack. You will damage the pressure block and on early racks you'll crack the delrin pad. Exactly what happened to me. You'll have to remove the rack to do this properly. Also the correct spanner to tighten the rods is an Assenmacher 32mm. You'll need 2 so you can simultaneously tighten both ends without putting torque pressure on the pressure block.
December 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rasta Monsta Comments: Is there any concern about loading/damaging the pinion gear while removing and tightening the tie rod using this method?
June 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Of course there is concern, you have to work with caution and be careful not to damage the rack. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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